The story of Valentine’s Day began in the third century in Rome with the emperor Claudius II. He was persecuting Christians and made it a capital crime for Romans to even associate with them. One story says that one of the Christians imprisoned was named Valentinus.
While in prison, Valentinus became friendly with his jailer, who saw that he was an educated man. The jailer asked Valentinus if he would impart some of his wisdom to his daughter, Julia, who was blind since birth. He taught her history, science, math and told her about Christianity. She came to understand the world differently, but wanted to see it. She began to pray for sight with Valentinus’ encouragement and one day while she was visiting him in his cell there was a sudden brilliant flash of light. Julia exclaimed, “I can see!”
The night before he was to be executed, Valentinus wrote a last note to Julia, asking her to continue her bond with God. He signed it, “From your Valentine”, instituting a tradition that continues to this day. Hand-made paper cards made their first appearance in Europe during the Middle Ages on each February 14, Saint Valentine’s Day. Chaucer and Shakespeare helped raised the profile of this romantic day. Now messages of love are exchanged around the world. In 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., began mass producing Valentines. According to the Greeting Card Association, 25% of all cards sent each year are Valentines.
Have you ever seen some of those cards? WOW they are beautiful!
Color card, 1890. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Then as a kid, these are the kinds I used to give out in grammar school.
Some historic events that took place on Valentine’s Day:
In 1962 a young First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy showed off the White House. She wore a Valentine’s Day red dress and a triple strand of pearls for a huge nationwide television audience. She gave the country a tour of the recently refurbished White House, which she had supervised. Mrs. Kennedy displayed her knowledge of the arts as she described the presidential mansion’s historic portraits, antiques and furnishings. Her engaging efforts earned her an honorary Emmy Award and helped her further cultivate her place in the hearts of Americans.
On Valentine’s Day in 1876 Alexander Graham Bell applied for a telephone patent. As the country celebrated its 1ooth birthday, Bell just barely filed his application with the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, D.C., before Elisha Gray filed his intention for a patent for his version of a telephone. As everyone knows, Bell was awarded the patent and his invention has been used countless times on Valentine’s Day and every other day throughout the year to convey messages of love between sweethearts all over the world.